Canada Day & NHL "Free Agency Day", properly tied together again after last season's lockout pushed this day back.
You can watch Sportsnet's coverage live after the jump.
Every time a team gets knocked out of the playoffs, I post "Goodbye, ______ [team]" to Facebook and Twitter. I do it on Google+ as well, but the service is half-dead. I post Goodbye for the first 14 teams that get knocked out. To the Cup winners go congratulations, and to the losers a tip of the hat.
The responses are generally fun, and looking back at the engagement numbers of each post have become an annual report here.
The numbers: Facebook likes, comments, and shares. Twitter retweets, favorites, and replies.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings, the 2013-14 Stanley Cup champions.
This is the second Cup for the Kings in three years.
They defeated the New York Rangers in five games. While the series wasn't a long one, it was a close one. Three games went into overtime, with five overtime periods overall played. Four of five games were decided by one goal.
Alec Martinez scored in double overtime to clinch the Cup for the Kings. It was the second series-clinching goal in a row for Martinez, having scored the goal in overtime that beat the Chicago Blackhawks in game 7 in the Western Conference Finals.
Justin Williams won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoffs MVP.
The Stanley Cup Finals are in motion. While hockey is still on the brain, let's dive into the 2013-14 hockeyfights.com Awards!
The annual awards are a collaborative effort by the hockeyfights.com content team. This season Ben Eklund (Phila26Flyers) did all the heavy lifting. Huge thanks to him and the rest of the team.
You need to be a member of the site to vote. It's free, and you can sign up here.
Dive in, cast your vote and have your say!*
The Kings, makers of history with a 3-0 series comeback in the quarterfinals against the SJ Sharks, nearly found themselves on the wrong end of history in the conference finals. LA avoided joining the Flyers as the only teams in history to lose a conference finals series they led 3-1. It took a high-scoring affair in Game 7, decided by a goal by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez.
The Kings' offense has exploded this postseason, sitting atop the playoff leaderboard with 3.40 goals per game. Late-season acquisition Marian Gaborik has led the way with 12 goals. Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter have combined for 46 points.
Daniel Carcillo knocked Brandon Prust against the boards, to knees. When Prust returned to his skates Derek Dorsett was waiting to give him the hook, and the two dropped the gloves. It was the first NHL fight in weeks.
The fight, which went Prust’s way, didn’t get most of the attention. Carcillo tried to skate back towards the altercation, which he originally skated away from, and got physical with Scott Driscol. The league handed a 10-game suspension to Carcillo.
Carcillo is appealing the suspension and will have a hearing at the league’s offices in New York. The date and time haven’t been set. Carcillo cannot play in the meantime.
From the Richard Riot in the 1950s to countless brawls until the 1980s (and Stanley Cups in-between), this rivalry is not short of storylines. With tough players like Chris Nilan and P.J. Stock donning both teams' sweater, it's not short of characters, either.
The series has been chippy throughout, and the first pair of fighting majors came out of it Tuesday night. After a lot of banter Adam Hall and Brian Boyle dropped the gloves late in the game. Boyle was able to use his reach advantage to hold Hall at bay.
Last night was full of tight games, in-game comebacks, and series comebacks. There were three games and all three went to the team needing the win to tie up the series - two of the three in overtime. The Columbus Blue Jackets battled back after being behind 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins to win 4-3 in OT. The Dallas Stars were down 2-0 to the Anaheim Ducks before scoring four unanswered goals, winning 4-2.
All three series are also getting nasty, and while the matching minors still seem to be the trend, Corey Perry and Antoine Roussel were able to get the gloves off for a short while. A mess of a fight, Perry never had the stability Roussel did. Patrick Maroon and Vernon Fiddler were tossed before the next faceoff for saying mean things, or whatever is earning a misconduct in the NHL nowadays.
There's been only one set of fighting majors so far this postseason. Brandon Prust fought Radko Gudas on the 18th. They almost fought again yesterday, picking up matching roughings in the second period.
That's the theme so far: games are heating up, but only so much. Or, sometimes to the point of pure stupidity. The San Jose Sharks laid a scoreboard beating on the Los Angeles Kings last night. The Kings didn't send a message as much as just parading to the penalty box from foolish plays.
An almost-fight is getting a fair amount of attention. "Little" 6' 1" Brendan Smith was yapping with 6' 9" Zdeno Chara at the end of the second period in yesterday's Detroit Red Wings-Boston Bruins game. Chara was literally laughing him off, and it made for a great highlight afterwards.